This is an original post by The Washinton Monthly by Steve Benen featuring Hilzoy.
‘IT IS WAY WORSE THAN I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE’…. I’m generally inclined to ignore publicity stunts, but this one might serve a greater goal.
Chicago radio talk-show host Erich Muller, aka “Mancow,” apparently decided he’d subject himself to waterboarding. His admitted goal, which Mancow conceded on the air, was to prove that waterboarding was not, in fact, torture.
This morning, Mancow, who is nationally syndicated, went into a storage room next to his radio studio. The results were predictable.
“The average person can take this for 14 seconds,” Marine Sergeant Clay South answered, adding, “He’s going to wiggle, he’s going to scream, he’s going to wish he never did this.”
With a Chicago Fire Department paramedic on hand, Mancow was placed on a 7-foot long table, his legs were elevated, and his feet were tied up.
Turns out the stunt wasn’t so funny. Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop. He only lasted 6 or 7 seconds.
“I wanted to prove it wasn’t torture,” Mancow said. “They cut off our heads, we put water on their face … I got voted to do this [by his listening audience] but I really thought, ‘I’m going to laugh this off.'”
He didn’t. In fact, he explained afterwards, “It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that’s no joke.” (Christopher Hitchens had a similar reaction last year.)
I mention this, not to give a radio host more publicity, but because it’s common to hear torture apologists insist that waterboarding is “no big deal.” This is not only absurd, it defies common sense: if this wasn’t torture, we wouldn’t have done it. The whole point is to do something so horrific that the detainee would feel compelled to give up information. If it were merely a “splash in the face,” as some on the right have argued, why would Bush administration officials think it might be effective?
What’s more, also note the circumstances/context here. Mancow was in a familiar setting; he knew his life was not being threatened; and he know he could stop the procedure at any time. Despite all of this, he still recognized this as torture, despite wanting to prove the opposite.
I am just going to say this first and foremost. I would suck as a political analyst…..because things like these actually hurt my feelings. Here is the comment I posted in reply to all the mean nasty things that people commented afterwards….
My husband has been drowned by the military, and brought back to life since “dying requires too much paperwork” He has been put in a gas chamber and removed his mask. He has been put through physical and psychological tests than many of you would wimp out on.
My husband is an American Citizen.
He is also a United States Navy Sailor.
None of you care what happens in training. Maybe its because we should feel sorry for terrorists and hate the military. That is your mantra, right?
Mancow couldn’t handle waterboarding….given. I also bet he couldn’t handle killing 3,000 people and spending his entire life training people to hate and kill heroes like my husband. Obviously, he does not have the constitution (sorry to use that word, I know how much you hate it) to be a hero or a terrorist.
Maybe instead of saving American lives we should just tell people where to bomb to specifically hit the Vice President in his “secret bunker”. Oh we already did?
Maybe instead of speaking the only language the terrorists understand which is fear, we should apologize for our actions and be ashamed of protecting our great Nation. Oh we already did that too?
Maybe instead of all you speaking about things you yourself would never have the guts to stop in the first place by placing your life on the line for America, we should instead ask Iran nicely to please not use nuclear weapons on us or our allies. Oh we did that as well?
I’m going to go to bed. Alone. Heartbroken and sad because my husband is away from me protecting people like you from the scum terrorists that you feel sorry for. Difference between you and me? I will sacrifice today, tomorrow, and every day after that because I believe YOUR American life is worth protecting.
You can read the entire post with all the nasty comments here.
As a side note, I consider myself pretty well informed on things. I know that I am not the brightest lipstick in the metaphorical makeup case of the world. There are some people on twitter, @JTlol, @RoaringRepub, @JamieWalker725 who get it. They give me the strength to get through and bless my life with laughter, compliments, kind words, and blog posts to help this blonde understand cap and trade. You all hold a special place in my heart.